More than 10 million people are facing food insecurity and over one million children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition in the Sahel region of Western Africa.
Lower than anticipated rainfall, poor local harvests, high food prices and continuing conflict across the region has resulted in a 'forgotten food crisis'. Merlin has identified Chad as one of the countries most in need of nutrition and health care support, to help and care for the extremely vulnerable communities who live there.
Chad's health system is not able to respond adequately to the most basic health needs of its population, let alone the increasing demands resulting from the current food crisis.
Those most at risk are children (up to 127,000), the elderly and disabled populations.
Cholera is endemic across the country & an outbreak is expected in June with the beginning of the rainy season. Malaria accounts for at least 20% of deaths in children under five.
Merlin's is responding to this emergency by supporting health facilities and services at community and district level. Merlin will care for around 420, 000 people, including 75,000 children.
Our teams will give free primary health care and offer nutritional care to anyone who is malnourished. Merlin will also prepare for outbreaks of disease (eg. cholera, measles, meningitis & polio), by improving the local capacity to respond to emergency situations.
Chad's health system is unable to serve the population even in better times. Merlin anticipates that our activities will evolve from emergency response, into a more longer term program of health care offering a broad range of health services, focusing on capacity building of the local health system and supporting the Ministry of Health's capacity to respond to emergencies.
All this will result in saving more lives and offer the people of Chad real, long term hope, for better health care.